Elvis and Hawaii: A Love Affaire.

I’ve often been asked about the connection between Elvis Presley and Hawaii.  There was nothing strange about it, as far as I know. Apparently, it was simply that Elvis loved it here.







Elvis is often but mistakenly given credit for raising the money to construct the memorial building built over the sunken wreck of the battleship U.S.S. Arizona in Pearl Harbor.




It’s quite true that Elvis played a benefit concert to raise money for that purpose. The fund raiser took place in Bloch Arena in March of 1961, a dozen years before the 1973 concert,  but it raised something like $90,000 for the project—a considerable sum, especially in the 1960s.



He made three movies in Hawaii: Blue Hawaii, Girls Girls Girls and Paradise, Hawaiian Style.






But what people of that generation living here remember most was an elaborate hour-long production that was staged in the Honolulu International Center, videotaped in January of 1973, and broadcast simultaneously all around the world some weeks later.





One thing is for sure: Elvis Presley had a soft spot in his heart for Hawaii. And Hawaii certainly loved Elvis.


  1. Actually, Jim, it went out live to 40 countries. U.S. viewers didn’t see it until April because the live event was on the same night as Super Bowl VII. I remember watching it and being astounded by it, particularly the technical aspects. I had never been much of a fan of Elvis until that show, and I got to see him do many of the same songs live the following year in a concert at Indiana University. I have a great DVD set that includes the concert and a lot of background material.

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